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Hospital Shadowing in Spain

Hospital Shadowing in Spain
A six-week program where students shadow doctors to gain professional experience in the medical field. Earn credit, build confidence, and be immersed in a new culture.
Language of Instruction: 
Academic Disciplines: 
Community Health
Exercise Science
Program Type: 
  • Spend the summer in Madrid, Spain shadowing doctors four days per week (for 20+ hours) over a 6 week period
  • Learn first-hand about an international publicly-funded healthcare system
  • Build confidence in a hospital setting through extensive observation of physician to patient contact
  • Gain a competitive edge in graduate school applications, domestic health related internships, and a broadened perspective on the medical vocation
  • Earn KU internship credit for your shadowing experience
  • Experience the rich culture and cuisine of Spain through weekly group excursions and group meals
Program Summary: 

The six-week program offered through the Atlantis Project (AP), a provider focused exclusively on healthcare internships, consists of a 20+hours per week hospital shadowing experience at a hospital in Spain. It is the ideal experiential learning opportunity for pre-med and pre-nursing students as well as those interested in clinical health areas such as physiology, developmental biology, exercise science, medical diagnostics, microbiology, neuroscience, physical therapy, and other allied health fields.  Participants will gain extensive observation experience in a hospital setting, a broadened perspective on the medical vocation, and a comparative lens to examine global healthcare. 

Students selected as AP Fellows will shadow four days per week (a min. of five hours daily) from early morning to early afternoon and rotate through different clinical areas on a weekly basis.  All Atlantis Project partner hospitals, from the smallest to the largest, offer a large array of medical departments to observe, however, it is important to note that some specialties may not be available.  In addition to shadowing, students will have the opportunity to give back to their community by teaching English to medical professionals or volunteering in other capacities at the hospital for 3-5 hours per week.  

It is important to note that, unlike other global health experiences which send students to developing nations, this program operates in Spain where the hospitals and healthcare practice standards are comparable to those of the United States. Though AP Fellows often see more than they typically would in a United States hospital, they are expected to only do that which they would be permitted to do in the United States. The Atlantis Project is committed to adhering to AAMC guidelines for pre-health students participating in a clinical experience abroad and so the fellowships are observational-only (clinical skills are not practiced). 

AP Fellows will also have ample opportunity to experience the cuisine, immerse themselves in the culture and history of Spain, and explore its breath-taking natural beauty. A mid-week cultural excursion will be offered during weeks 1, 2, 5, & 6, to locations of cultural and historical significance near the program site.  Excursions may include hiking, attending local festivals, caving and canyoning, visiting historical sites and national parks, and more.


Madrid, Spain’s capital and largest city, ranks as one of the most livable cities in the world.  It offers countless museums, public parks, outdoor cafes, and cultural attractions and is famous for its nightlife.  Only in Madrid can one spend the day touring the renowned Prado Museum, strolling the shaded paths of the Parque de Buen Retiro, lunching at a terraza, meeting up with friends for tapas, and ending the night with a flamenco performance. 

Academic Information: 

AP Fellows will earn credit for their shadowing experience through one of the KU courses listed below.  

BIOL 490
Biology Internship & Practical Applications (1-3 credits)
This course supports the supervised practical experiences in an occupational area of interest. In addition to the work-related activity, students will likely be asked to complete reading and writing assignments, participate in on-line discussions, and create a final summary of internship accomplishments. Hours of credit recorded are based on number of hours at internship site and agreement of instructor. Credit hours will be assigned a letter grade. Repeatable for up to 6 credit hours, provided the internship experiences are different.

HNRS 496
Honors Program - Honors Internship ( 1-3 credits)
Students participate in an internship in an organization related to their professional/career goals. An internship plan is developed by the student in conjunction with the student's academic adviser and an authorized agent of the internship site. Satisfies: U Undesignated elective (U), Honors

HSES 335
Health, Sport, & Exercise Sci - Clincial Field Experience ( 3 credits)
Clinical Field Experience is designed to allow students who plan to pursue clinical careers the opportunity to observe and assist (as appropriate) in the evaluation and/or treatment of patients by licensed clinicians in fields such as medicine, physical therapy, and cardiac rehabilitation. Only one enrollment permitted each semester. A maximum of six hours will apply towards the bachelor's degree, or a maximum of three credit hours will apply towards the bachelor's degree if the student subsequently enrolls in HSES 580 (Internship). Prerequisite: Admittance to the Community Health or Exercise Science undergraduate degree program in HSES.

LA&S 490
Liberal Arts & Sciences - Internship Exploration ( 1-3 credits)
This course provides credit for supervised practical experiences in an occupational area of interest. In addition to the work-related activity, students complete reading and writing assignments, participate in an on-line discussion and create a final portfolio of internship accomplishments. Hours of credit recorded (1-3) are based on number of hours at internship site and agreement of instructor. Credit hours will be assigned a letter grade. Repeatable for up to 5 credit hours, provided the internship experiences are different. Satisfies: Goal 6 Outcome 1 (AE61), U Undesignated elective (U)


Participants will be housed in furnished university residences, hotels, or apartments.  Units are single-gender and typically double-occupancy with shared bathrooms and common spaces.  Towels, linens and internet are provided.  Transportation costs between the program housing and hospital are included as well as airport transfers at the beginning and end of the program. 

A light breakfast is provided from Mon-Fri, as well as four weekly group meals at local restaurants. For most lunches, fellows buy and prepare their own food or stop in a local cafe for an inexpensive sandwich.


This program is open to students of all undergraduate levels pursuing a degree in the healthcare fields interested in gaining shadowing (observational only) experience in a hospital setting. 

The vast majority of participants are not fluent in the local language. There could be language barriers in the hospital if you do not know the local language, as in some hospitals more doctors speak better English than in others. For this reason, students are encouraged but not required to have at least a basic understanding of the host country language. If you do not have any understanding of the local language, you are encouraged to study the language as much as possible before the start of their Fellowship.  Please note that higher levels of English are spoken in Greece so students who are concerned about the language barrier are encouraged to consider the Hospital Shadowing in Greece Program.


Add Course: 
Language of Instruction: 
English or Spanish
Date Reviewed: 
Fall 2016
Equivalency Valid Until: 
Fall 2021
KU Course
KU Credit Hours: 


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To learn more about your study abroad options, we encourage you to visit the Study Abroad Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall). The Study Abroad Info Center offers walk-in advising for current and prospective students. Drop by to learn more about program options, make an appointment with a study abroad program coordinator, get information on scholarships and financial aid, and talk to returned study abroad students. We also encourage you to explore the resources available on our website to learn more about the application process, KU Core Approved programs, and the cost of study abroad. 

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